We are moving inexorably towards an agreed Code of Practice for the formal Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA), and enormous potential to make the sector more professional.
Once agreed, it will set the standard by which a future regulator will measure the way estate, letting and managing agents, manage and operate their business. The Regulation should ensure that everyone in the industry is licensed, adheres to a strict code of practice and holds relevant qualifications.
All those involved in the property sector, including leaseholders, freeholders and the directors of a Resident Management Company or Right To Manage Company, has an interest in helping make the Code fit for purpose – and now you have a chance to have your say.
A draft for an overarching Code of Practice for England* has been prepared and is now open for consultation, but only until 4 September 2020. You can view the draft and easily add your comments online here.
The proposed Code is based on 14 recommendations made last year by Lord Best in his Regulation of Property Agents report. It will now be for the RoPA Steering Group to review responses to the consultation and then prepare the final overarching Code.
Key recommendations in Lord Best’s report included:
- All agencies operating a residential property business should be licensed and licensing should include a fit and proper person test for company directors.
- All staff delivering ‘reserved activities’ employed within the residential agency business should be licensed and adhere to a Code of Practice.
- All staff delivering ‘reserved activities’ employed within the residential agency business should hold a qualification at Level 3 or above.
- All company directors and managing agents should be qualified to a minimum of Level 4.
- A new regulator to be appointed to oversee compliance with an overarching Code of Practice.
At a later date, the overarching Code will be supplemented by sector-specific codes for services such as leasehold and block management. It is intended that these will be developed later this calendar year.
The new Code and the standards it lays down will apply to companies and the individuals working for them. It is intended that all individuals engaged in the sector are appropriately qualified and that training is provided by recognised organisations, like the Institute of Residential Property management (IRPM), who helped draft the Code.
Baroness Hayter, chair of the Code of Practice Steering Group, stressed that: “Input from consumers, stakeholders, interest groups and the industry is paramount to ensure that the code of practice is balanced, fit for purpose and meets the requirements of a future regulator.”
*These matters are devolved to the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament.
The opinions and views expressed in the above article are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.